Bacoor Youth Summit 2014: Kaya Kabataang Pinoy

Bacoor Coliseum, Molino 3
City of Bacoor, Cavite
12 December 2014

Congresswoman Lani Mercado-Revilla, Vice-Governor Ramon Jolo Revilla III, a.k.a. “Sir Chief”, Mayor Strike Revilla, Vice-Mayor Karen Sarino-Evaristo, Members of the Sanggunian Panglungsod, other officials of the City Government of Bacoor, friends and other esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen: a very sunny and good morning to all of you!

It is truly an honor and privilege for me to visit once again our neighboring city and to address the youth of Cavite, especially the youth leaders of the City of Bacoor, on the occasion of Bacoor Youth Summit for 2014. Sinabi kong “neighboring city” dahil kahit nandirito tayo sa lalawigan ng Cavite, talaga namang katabing-katabi lamang nito ang Lungsod ng Pasay, kung saan naroroon ang Senado, at kung saan ako ay nanunungkulan bilang isa sa inyong mga hinalal na Senador ng Republika ng Pilipinas. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Nagpapasalamat din ako sa inyong mga halal na lokal na opisyal ng ating mahal na lalawigan, lalong-lalo na sina Congresswoman Lani, Vice-Gov Jolo, Mayor Strike, na ako ay inanyahan upang tayo ay makapagsama-sama rito at makapagtalakay ng ilang mahahalagang isyu na ating kinakaharap ngayon.

Sinabi ko rin kanina na binabati ko kayo ng isang maaraw at maaliwalas na umaga. Magpasalamat tayo sa ating Maylikha na biniyayaan tayo ng magandang panahon sa araw na ito. Opisyal nang lumabas si bagyong Ruby sa Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) kahapon, actually sa ganap na 11PM ng December 10. Magpasalamat din tayo na hindi masyadong sinalanta ni Ruby ang ating lalawigan, lalo na ang Lungsod ng Bacoor. Ayon sa mga ulat, “zero casualty” raw ang lalawigan ng Cavite at “minimal” lamang daw ang mga naging pinsala. Kaya, maraming salamat sa ating Panginoon at naging ligtas ang Cavite sa anumang hindi-kanais-nais na sakuna!

When I reflected on today’s theme, “Kaya Kabataang Pinoy”, I could not help but relate it to my thoughts about our country’s experience in this recent weather disturbance.

Naisip ko: “KAYANG-KAYA naman pala natin!”

I am referring to our country’s overall readiness, attitude, and response before, during and after typhoon Ruby. If we are going to compare them with what we had experienced with super-typhoon Yolanda, we can say that the joint efforts of the government and the people have shown a marked improvement.

Noong Nobyembre ng nakalipas na taon, noong sinalanta tayo ni bagyong Yolanda, tayo ay parang nagulat at na-“shock” sa lakas at tindi ng super-typhoon na ito. Siguro kung ating babalikan, maaari nating sabihin ngayon na hindi tayo ganung kahanda noon, kaya rin hindi ganung kaganda ang ating tugon sa kalamidad.

In fact, even foreign observers like CNN journalists and the UNICEF, had something good to say about the extra efforts that we had shown this time. They said that this was a “success story”; CNN’s Jim Clancy tweeted that, “there’s solid evidence that preparations saved lives and helps the homeless,” and according to UNICEF, both the government’s evacuation plan and logistics were done right.

Kahit tayo mismo, sa ating nakita at narinig mula sa mga balita, mas maganda ang naging komunikasyon at koordinasyon. Maganda ang ating mga narinig tungkol sa pagtalaga hindi lamang ng mga relief goods at iba pang mga mahahalagang kagamitan, kundi pati na rin ang mga pulis at mga military, bago pa man dumating ang bagyo. Ito yung tinatawag natin na “pre-positioning” of goods, equipment and law enforcement agents in the critical areas and installations. Maganda ang ating naisagawa at naipakita sa aspeto na ito.

Halimbawa, sa evacuation pa lang, kitang-kita natin na mas naging epektibo at malawakan. According to the official report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the total number of evacuees reached a whopping 1.7 million persons! This astonishing number has led the United Nations to observe that it was, “one of the largest evacuation exercises (they) have ever seen during peacetime.”

Siyempre, hindi ito isang “world record” na maaari nating ipagsigawan sa buong mundo. Ngunit dahil dito, napatunayan natin ang ating kakayahan bilang isang komunidad at bilang isang bansa, na makinig at magtiwala sa isa’t isa, at magtulungan upang mapagtibay at mapanatiling ligtas sa sakuna ang ating mga sarili at pamilya.

But this perhaps is the single most important consideration or factor that may explain the low number of fatalities reported in this calamity. Per the NDRRMC’s latest count, only eleven (11) have perished in the wake of typhoon Ruby’s visitation. Sa kabilang banda naman, sinabi ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) na dalawampu’t dalawa (22) ang bilang ng mga nasawi. While this suggests that communication and information coordination between the relief and rescue operations of the government and the private sector still need further improvement and tightening, this certainly indicates the relatively low number of casualties, compared to the unprecedented numbers that we had seen from our Yolanda experience.

Ang ating PAGASA ay hindi rin nagpahuli. There is a newspaper columnist who wrote yesterday that our very own PAGASA is one “positive story that should give Filipinos a measure of pride”. According to him, PAGASA’s initial prediction of the path of typhoon Ruby was more accurate than those made by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the Japan Meteorological Agency. Lalo pa kung makikita mo na ginagamit ng mga international media organizations tulad ng BBC at CNN ang mga weather forecasts ng PAGASA tungkol sa bagyong Ruby. Mabibilib nga naman tayo talaga!

Sabi nga nila, “Experience is the best teacher”. If this is true, then—wow!—what a tough school year last year was! At napakahirap naman talaga ng mga leksyon na natutunan natin sa nakaraang taon! And judging by our improved performance this year, siguro naman we may safely say na pasado tayo—with flying colors!

Pinakita natin na KAYA nating matuto sa ating mga naging karanasan, gaano man kahirap, gaano man kasaklap. Pinakita rin natin na KAYA nating ipamalas ang ating mga natutunan at gawin ito ng tama sa isang aktuwal, praktikal at kahalintulad na pangyayari.

Ngayon, sa paglipas ni typhoon Ruby, ano na? Paano na? Manunumbalik na ba tayo tayo sa ating mga dating nakagawian? Magba-backslide na naman ba tayo?

Ngayon, ang pinakamalaking hamon sa atin ay kung paano isasagawang isang SISTEMA at KULTURA ang ating mga ipinakita sa ating paghahanda at pagtugon sa mga epekto ng bagyong Ruby. “Culture of preparedness”, sabi ng iba. Tulad sa pag-aaral, kailangan nating maging “consistent”; hindi yung pabago-bago: Bagsak-Pasado-Bagsak-Pasado. Kailangan natin itong gawing “automatic” at “Standard Operating Procedure”, so much so that it gets embedded into the normal routine of our daily lives. So that once confronted with yet another disaster, our emergency response would be automatic and we would just say: “Alam ko na ‘yan!” or “Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?!” in short, it should be become an integral part of our national psyche.

This challenge is even made more urgent considering PAGASA’s forecast that there may be one or two more typhoons that might enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) for the remainder of this month.

Tandaan natin na ayon sa mga statistics, dumarami na ang bagyo na dumarating sa ating bansa kada-taon. In fact, the strongest ones come during the last three “Ber” months or from October to December of the year, especially during the months of November and December. Typhoons Ike (1984), Reming (2006), Uring (1991) and Yolanda (2013) all happened in November; Sendong (2011) and Pablo (2012) happened in the month of December. Idadagdag na rin natin siguro si Ruby sa listahan.

Dahil sa global warming, nag-iba na talaga ang ating klima. Climate change has shaken our traditional notion of our rains and typhoons, in relation to our traditional view about our degree of preparedness. Now, we should not just be concerned with a storm’s wind strength and gustiness alone; we should be wary of stronger “precipitation delivery”, or a larger amount of rainfall concentrated over a short period of time. Ngayon, lumakas na ang binubuhos na tubig ng ating mga ulan at bagyo. Sa ilang minuto o oras lamang, kaya na nitong magdulot ng matinding baha.

Moreover, we should now be concerned with the possibility of “storm surges”, as our Yolanda and Ruby experiences have taught us. Although similar in destructive potential, a storm surge is different from a “tsunami” in that it is not triggered by an earthquake, but by a storm or typhoon as it rips through the sea and moves on to the coastline. Binigyan na rin ng Filipino translation ang “storm surge”: “DALUYONG”. Malamang nababasa at naririnig ninyo na ito.

Sabi nga nila, this is now the “NEW NORMAL”!

At bagyo pa lamang yan, mga mahal kong mga kabataan! Earthquakes are another, which are rather more unpredictable, considering even the most advanced technology. According to PHIVOLCS, a destructive earthquake occurs every 5 years, while a destructive tsunami happens every 10 years.

At kailan naman daw ang susunod na malakas at mapanirang lindol? Well, according to PHIVOLCS, we all can expect it to come anytime within 400 years! Talk about unpredictability!

We can blame it on country’s location on the planet. We are in the western portion of the Pacific Ocean, which is not only considered as a very potent storm engine, but also where the so-called “Ring of Fire” is located, which is a very active seismic belt. 90% lang naman ng mga lindol sa buong mundo ay nangyayari sa Ring of Fire!

Napakaswerte naman talaga ng Pilipinas!

Ang inyong lalawigan ng Cavite is no exception. According to the PHIVOLCS, areas along the entire perimeter of the Cavite coastline are considered susceptible to tsunamis and are also prone to liquefaction, o yung pagguho ng lupa kapag may lindol.

For the people of City of Bacoor and the Province of Cavite, this is likewise an urgent concern considering the fact that Bacoor is considered a “critical” and “high risk” area, one which is prone to flooding, storm surge o “daluyong”, and tsunami, according to Project “HaNDA” or the Hazard Notification, Dissemination and Awareness of the DOST Region IV-A. Sa limang (5) nakalistang kategorya ng sakuna, kasama ang Bacoor sa tatlo (3)!

Napakaswerte nga naman talaga ng Bacoor!
Now, all these discussions lead us to the related issues of adaptation, preparedness and resiliency. Wala na tayong magagawa sa ating lokasyon sa mundo; ngunit may magagawa tayo ukol sa ating kahandaan at pamamaraan upang tugunan at labanan ang mga masamang epekto ng mga kalamidad na ito.

May mahalagang papel ang mga kabataan dito sa pagbabago ng ating kaisipan, paniniwala, pag-unawa, at pagkilos tungkol sa mga kalamidad na mga ito. You are as much an integral part of our community, especially as you are our partners in nation-building! You are in a very good position to make sense of all these vital information!

With the aid of technology, internet and social media, you can work wonders in your own families and communities, which can spell the difference between suffering and survival! So make the most out of your inseparable attachment to your gadgets, and your addiction to the internet and social media, and maximize the use of all available information out there, and channel them towards capacity-building and the strengthening, safety and survival of your own lives, and that of your families and communities.

For example: Now, you can stay updated with the latest weather forecasts, news and other important information by accessing the PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, Project NOAH, NDRRMC and other very informative websites, whether government or private, or whether local or international.

Malaki ang tulong na maibibigay ninyo rito. Sa kabila ng inyong kabataan, kayo ay may kakayahang tumulong na magpalawig ang mga mahahalagang impormasyon na ito na marahil ay mahirap maintindihan ng mga mas nakakatanda—lalo na kung ang pinag-uusapan ay mga moderno at high-tech na teknolohiya! Kayo ang mga generation ng mga “TECHIE”!

Para makatulong sa inyo, tandaan ninyo lang ang pangalan ng inyong mahal na Mayor: Let us not wait until disasters STRIKE, bago pa man tayo kumilos at umaksyon! Sabi nga ng slogan ng Bacoor Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office: Tayo ay mag-“Tulong-tulong sa Kahandaan ng Komunidad Laban sa Kalamidad”!

At bilang pangwakas, malaki rin ang papel ng kabataan sa pamumuno ng ating mga komunidad at ng ating bayan. Sa inyo na may mga angking katangian at kakayahan na maging lider, mayroon tayong Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) na kung saan ang kabataan ay hindi lamang binibigyan ng boses sa pamahalaan, kundi binibigyan mismo ng pagkakataon upang aktuwal na mamuno sa komunidad. Kasalukuyan nating nirereporma sa Kongreso ang istruktura ng ating SK at inaasahan natin na maisabatas ang mga ito tungo sa SK elections ngayong darating na taong-2015.

Mga kabataan, ito ang aking hamon sa inyong lahat, lalo na sa mga kabataan ng Bacoor!

Tandaan ninyo na kung si Vice-Gov Jolo ay may “Maya”, kayo naman ay may “KAYA” na maging makabuluhan, produktibo at responsableng mga miyembro ng ating bayan at ng ating mga komunidad!

Tayong lahat ay may KAKAYAHAN na KAYANIN ang mga pagsubok sa buhay!

Gayundin para sa buong pamilya Revilla: KAYANG-KAYA natin ang mga pagsubok sa ating buhay!

Kaya ng Bacoor ito!

Kaya ng Cavite ito!

Kaya ng Kabataan ito!

Mabuhay ang mga Kabataan ng Lungsod ng Bacoor!

Mabuhay ang mga Kabataang Pinoy!

Maraming, maraming salamat po!

Magandang umagang muli sa inyong lahat!

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